– Better than we could have imagined
While waiting for the Nordic Built Cities Challenge to open, participants in the original Nordic Built Challenge give their view on their experience.
7 October 2015, the six competitions of the Nordic Built Cities Challenge will be launched – looking for innovative solutions to the six urban challenges related to an urban space.
The competition is largely inspired by the Nordic Built Challenge that ran from 2012 to 2013, where teams submitted innovative solutions to five designated building renovation projects. Next year, the work will start on the Nordic winning project, the Ellebo Garden Room.
Building competencies and knowledge
Adam Khan of Adam Khan Architects, who led the team that ended up as final overall Nordic winners, has fond memories of the competition, describing it as well-run and better than they could have imagined.
– One of the really good things about the competition was that it was long and relatively well-funded. We were able to find good partners and it became a real research project, he says.
The longevity of the competition meant that Khan and his team could work with their solution on a scientific level, which made it a great learning experience.
Khan’s sentiments are echoed by Jette Birkeskov Mogensen, project architect at Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and project leader of the team that won the Norwegian part of the competition. Although their Urban Mountain project did not end up as final overall Nordic winners, she still feels their participation was worth the effort.
– Nordic Built became a network and a gateway to knowledge. It is interesting to look at the other projects and the pool of knowledge that has been created through that competition, says Mogensen.
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has since used the Urban Mountain project as a learning project internally for the architecture firm, with their China and Singapore office using it as a case to better learn and understand the potential for sustainable renovation.
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New business opportunities
The competition also presented new business opportunities for Adam Khan Architects and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects both. Having never worked with social housing before, the Ellebo Garden Room project gave Khan and his office an opportunity to work with a different segment.
– The competition has definitely moved our office and our competence. We are now engaged in social housing in the UK, and we work from a different position. It has brought a fresh perspective to our work, he says.
Mogensen, on her hand, reveals that the Urban Mountain team has recently continued their partnership and have new projects in progress, although she cannot go into details yet.
– Go all in!
Although no competition is perfect, both Khan and Mogensen are full of praise for the Nordic Built Challenge.
– Our project would have been a project anyway, but being part of a competition gathered so much enthusiasm that has given the project a lift. It allowed everyone the opportunity to do something amazing. The residents [at Ellebo] are also full of pride that their home is focus of an international venture. That helps you in so many ways, says Khan.
While Mogensen describes the competition as resource-heavy, she has no hesitation with recommending others to join similar competitions.
– Go all in. In our experience, it is worth the investment!
Adam Khan receiving the Nordic prize of the Nordic Built Challenge from the Swedish minister of enterprise, Annie Lööf in 2013.